Do you have power cords hanging off of your desk, or are you always needing to crawl under your desk to plug and unplug your laptop charger? If so, here is how to install a desk power grommet! This is a relatively easy, one-afternoon DIY that will make your desk space so much more functional!
I built this desk into our mudroom last year to create a little “pocket office” for myself. The one thing it was missing for a while, though, was an easy way to plug in my laptop charger and desk lamp. I finally added a power grommet last week, and it was a small change that has made such a difference!
There are a lot of options out there for power grommets and ways you can install them. Below I’ll walk you through a few things to keep in mind when choosing an outlet, and my tips for how to install a power grommet!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links for the tools & supplies I used in this project. This means that I may earn a commission (at no extra cost to you!) should you chose to make a purchase through my link.
What is a Power Grommet?
A power grommet is an outlet that you can install right into your desktop, for easy access to plug in your devices, desk lamp, etc. They come in different shapes (usually round and rectangular) and can have any number and types of ports (power, USB, USB-C, etc.). They also come in different finishes, so you can find one that complements your desk’s color and style!
How to Choose the Right Power Grommet For You
A few considerations when choosing your power grommet:
- What type of ports do you need for your devices?
- How many ports will you need to use at once?
- How much space do you have available in your desktop for the grommet?
- How thick is your desktop?
- What is the power grommet cord length needed to be to reach your wall outlet?
- Do you want a pop-up power outlet so that you can hide it when not in use? Or, one that will have a lower profile with the ports always visible?
- Do you have a color or finish preference that best fits your aesthetic/the style of your desk?
In terms of aesthetics/finish, I started my power grommet search by googling specifically for “brass power grommets”! I really wanted an outlet that would contribute to the beauty of the desk, rather than feeling like an afterthought. Surprisingly, I did not find a lot of brass options out there!
I did find though, and was immediately was drawn to, this antique brass power grommet from Mockett. I just loved the antique brass finish, which coordinated perfectly with my door and drawer hardware from Rejuvenation. The fact that the power outlet pops up is really nice also, to hide the outlets when not in use!
A few other options that I considered were this black power grommet with additional ports, or a single outlet in each corner. The single outlet tucked in a corner is great if you have a corner lamp and you don’t want to run cords to the middle of your desk. For my uses though, I decided a centrally located outlet would be best.
Best Place for a Grommet Hole on a Desk
The best place for your power grommet depends on how you’ll be using it! As I mentioned above, a small outlet in the corner would be great for plugging in a lamp and keeping its cord relatively hidden. I opted for putting my power grommet in the center of my desk both for functionality and symmetry.
It’s also helpful to locate your power grommet close to the back of your desk so that it doesn’t take up space needed for your computer, papers, etc. I located mine 2.5” from the back of my desk. This was partly because I needed to bring it out past the depth of my windowsill, so that I could get my drill and jigsaw in there to make the cutout. If it wasn’t for that, I might’ve gone a little bit closer to the back of my desk.
Before drilling for my power grommet, I marked its location on my desktop with a quick template I cut out from an index card and painter’s tape. I didn’t want to write on my desk, and I wanted to make sure my cutout was even and square; a simple template accomplished both! I also do think the painters tape helped reduce splintering/tear out in the wood top as I used the jigsaw to cut it.
How to Drill a Hole in Your Desk for a Power Grommet
For a rectangular power grommet like the one I chose, the easiest way I found to create a hole in the desktop was to drill out the four corners and then use a jigsaw to cut between them. You’ll want to use a drill bit that creates a large enough hole to fit your jigsaw blade. I used a 3/8” drill bit, which was the largest in my set. Below are the tools I used on the project (and that I’ve used on so many other projects also!):
- Drill (I have the drill and driver combo which you can sometimes find at a good deal; or you can go for just the drill)
- Drill bit set
- Jig saw (if you already own other Dewalt tools/batteries/chargers and don’t need more, you can get the tool only. Or, there are lots of package options that include a battery and charger too if needed)
- Jig saw blades (this is the pack I bought that I imagine will last me a while; or you can buy a smaller pack)
- Safety glasses (always so important! These ones are my favorite– I’m relatively petite and they fit me well)
Shop Project Supplies
Once the hole was cut, it was really easy to just pop the power grommet into place, secure it below with the wing clamps, and then plug it in!
Circular Power Grommets
If you’re trying to install a circular power grommet, you can look into a hole saw bit for your drill. If you do this, be sure to check the outlet specs for what diameter hole you need to cut. I personally had some trouble when I tried using a hole saw recently to cut through a scrap piece of red oak from my desk top build; but, with a softer wood, different material top, or perhaps a more powerful drill, it might be easier! If you’ve never used one before, I recommend trying it out on scrap wood first before your actual desk!
Nerve Wracking? Yes! Worth it? Also yes!
I’ll be honest, drilling that first hole through my desktop was a little nerve wracking! But it worked out great and my new power grommet is seeing a lot of use already. Tell me, is this a DIY you’d take on?! Let me know below what you think or if you have any questions!
Also- if you’re more of a visual learner and want to check out some video content for this tutorial, check out the reel over on my Instagram and follow there for more DIY projects!
DISCLAIMER: DIY Projects and using power tools pose inherent risks. Christine Nickerson Design cannot be held liable for any injury, damages, or losses sustained in the course of your project. Always follow local building codes and manufacturers’ instructions provided with your tools.